How do you squeeze self-care into this holiday season?

Christmas is a joyful holiday that many of us look forward to, but it’s also a busy season. It’s easy to get caught up in the hectic rush of buying gifts, cooking, and going to parties—so much so that we often neglect ourselves. Unfortunately, it’s easy to let Christmas overwhelm and exhaust us each year instead of filling us up. This Christmas, try giving yourself the gift of self-care to ensure that you’re able to relax. Here are a few self-care ideas you can make a priority this season.

Try not to overcommit yourself.

It’s easy to feel like the Christmas parties and events—many of which you may need to cook or decorate for—never end. One of the best things you can do for yourself this holiday season is to not overcommit yourself. Learn to say no. You don’t need to feel obligated to go to every event you’re invited to. You can also save yourself hours in the kitchen by buying a mix or premade dish for some of the parties you are attending. This will save you a lot of time and stress when preparing for events, allowing you to enjoy them more and lowering your overall stress levels.

Additionally, the gift of self-care means not being afraid to ask for help when you need it. Ask a family member or friend to come over and help clean, decorate, or simply watch the kids while you get things done or take a breather. A little help goes a long way; it’ll lighten your load considerably and may even help make the tasks you still have to do more enjoyable.

Practice taking belly breaths.

Belly breathing is a stress-reduction exercise that essentially tricks you into feeling relaxed. Studies show that breathing exercises like belly breathing lower your heart rate and blood pressure and reduce anxiety. You can practice belly breathing anywhere, so it’s a good way to quickly lower your stress levels when you feel them spiking. Many people also use belly breathing as a regular morning routine to help them start off their day on the right foot.

Drink water throughout the day.

When you’re busy, it’s easy to forget to drink enough water. If you let yourself get dehydrated, however, you’ll likely notice that you’re not as productive—even if you don’t realize why. This is because dehydration can make you more tired and can cause headaches and dizziness. Drinks like soda or coffee might give you a temporary energy boost, but they’ll stain your teeth over time. Water is great at hydrating your body and doesn’t come with any downsides; it’s low-calorie and actively helps your body to fight cavities.

Stock up on easy-to-grab healthy snacks.

When you’re in a rush, it often seems easier to grab a candy bar or fast food for a quick snack. Eating too much of these foods, however, is bad for your body and your teeth; they can trigger acne breakouts, cause you to gain weight, and increase your risk of cavities and gum disease. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying these foods occasionally, but it’s far healthier for you to make a habit of snacking on fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body, and crunchier varieties will actively help clean plaque off your teeth as you eat them. They’ll also provide a longer-lasting energy boost than sugar—with no nasty crash when your energy runs out. Most fruits and vegetables are just as portable as junk food, so simply take a few seconds before you head out the door to shove an apple or a few carrots into your bag before you leave the house. If you make this a habit and a gift of self-care, you’ll likely notice a significant difference in your overall health and energy levels.

Set aside time for yourself.

No matter how much you have on your to-do list this Christmas season, it’s important to set aside at least a little bit of time for yourself. If you can, it’s a good idea to do this every day, even if some days you’re only able to spare five minutes for yourself. You’ll be amazed at how much stress will melt away with just a few minutes of genuine relaxation. Take this time to do something you enjoy. Read a good book, watch your favorite TV show, or take a long, relaxing soak in the bath. You may even want to start up a new hobby—whatever will help you relax and take your mind off everything.

Go for a walk outside.

Staying active can be hard when you’re busy—especially when it’s cold outside. Getting a moderate amount of exercise each day, however, is important for both your physical and mental health — and can be considered the gift of self-care. It will help you fight off cabin fever, eat Christmas sweets with a little less guilt, and it’s a good way to soak up the sun for essential vitamin D. When you don’t get enough vitamin D, you’re more likely to feel depressed, so a walk in the sunshine might help dispel the infamous winter gloom that so many of us experience. It’s also essential for keeping your immune system strong and your bones and teeth healthy.

Keep a travel toothbrush in your car or bag.

If you’re constantly on the move during the holiday season, it might be a good idea to keep a toothbrush in your car or bag. It helps ensure that you give your oral health the attention it needs—no matter where you are. When you skip brushing your teeth to make it to an appointment on time, you’ll have the tools to brush them as soon as you get a chance. This will help prevent cavities and curb bad breath; you won’t have to worry that the bad taste in your mouth is announcing itself to everyone at a Christmas party or work event.

Make the time to visit the dentist.

Giving yourself the gift of self-care is about slowing down and taking care of yourself—mentally and physically. One of the ways you should take the time to care for yourself this Christmas season is by checking up on your oral health. The holidays can be pretty busy, but the time that you have off work or school often makes it a perfect chance to visit Dr. Farless. Regular dental visits save you money in the long run by ensuring that Dr. Farless can catch cavities or gum disease early, and they help to keep your entire body healthier.

Christmas is often a busy but enjoyable time centered around family and friendship, but it can be easy to let a full schedule overwhelm you. Taking just a few minutes each day to focus on self-care, being careful not to take on too many obligations, and keeping an eye on your health can make all the difference—helping the stress to melt away so that you can enjoy all that Christmas has to offer.